Interesting facts about Guruvayur temple

There are certain temples that become famous for their works of art, there are certain temples that stand out because of the steady flow of devotees and there are certain temples that have been a centre of socio-political changes. Guruvayur temple in Thrissur district, Kerala is famous for all of the above. So ancient and so integral is the temple that you cannot really talk about the history of Kerala without talking about this ancient temple. And, it abounds in interesting facts. We list some out.

History of the temple

There are myths and documented history when it comes to the origins of the temple. The most famous myth, which also signifies how the temple got its name goes thus. Realizing that the purpose of his incarnation is complete, Lord Krishna gives his charioteer Udhava a mission: save the idol of Vishnu that had been worshipped by him at Dwaraka. Udhava sought out the help of Brihaspathy, Guru of the Gods and Vayu, Lord of Winds, and together they took the idol to where it would be safe in Kerala, the land newly reclaimed by Parasurama. They chanced upon the spot now known as Guru-Vayu-ur. The temple they set up would be the abode of the saviour of mankind during the troubled times. And it has stood the test of time. There are references to the temple in various ancient texts, and it is believed that the main shrine was rebuilt in the late 1630s. It was plundered and looted time and again by the Dutch, and Tipu Sultan, but by 1298, the ruler of Calicut, the Zamorin was vested with the administration of the temple.

Guruvayur Satyagraha

In the early 1930s, those belonging to the lower castes were forbidden entry even to the streets surrounding the temple. Inspired by Gandhiji, a great Sathyagraha was staged near the temple. Political greats like K Kelappan and A K Gopalan took leadership. But despite compromises, only after Independence did the temple open its doors to all Hindus.

Elephants of Guruvayur

Elephants have always had a place of honour at Guruvayur. Devotees gift these pachyderms to the deity and they are kept at Punnathoor Kotta. The Punnathur Kotta is a unique elephant sanctuary just a couple of kilometres away from the temple. Some of the elephants have legends around them in their own right, e.g., Guruvayur Kesavan. The elephant camp is always worth a visit, and tourists flock in there.

People who made a difference

Every event or place, has always relied on a bard to tell its tale. Vilvamangalam swami is one of those who wrote extensively about the temple and the miracles here. Lilasuka, who authored Krishna Karnaamritham, Poonthanam who wrote about his devotion to the lord in Malayalam, Manaveda the Zamorin of Calicut who authored a Sanskrit drama and a legion of the lesser known artists who have brought the stories of the lord closer to the devotees.

Celebrating various art forms

The art form, Krishnanttam, is unique to this temple. A Sanskrit drama, it details the life of Sri Krishna in eight episodes. It combines music, retaining the traditional “Sopanam” style native to Kerala, and pantomime, with masks for demoniac characters and facial paint for the others.

Tips

If you are planning to visit the temple, give it a whole day. The temple opens at around 3 AM and there are restrictions on when you can enter. There is a dress code too. There is free food at the temple after 10 AM. Guruvayur is a temple town and it seldom sleeps. There are trains that ply out of Guruvayur to Thrissur and then on to various parts of the country. The airports nearby are Coimbatore and Nedumbassery International airports.

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Vilangan Hills

The primaeval call to commune with nature is something that hits most people at one time or the other, inviting them for a quick getaway away from the regular humdrum of life. And for those of you living in the throbbing city of Thrissur, life couldn’t get better as the scenic Vilangan hills also known as Vilangan Kunnu sits on the outskirts of the city and is just a mere 5km away from the city centre.

Vilangan hill is located in Adat Panchayat on the outskirts of the main city and is a great residential area. Its often referred to as the ‘Oxygen Jar’ of Thrissur also. The hill is made up of laterite and has a radius of 8km and a height of 80 meters above sea level. The top of the hill measures around 5 acres and was earlier used as a strategic military camp and as an observation camp during World War II.

It’s used for more peaceful activities now with the hill being open to the public from 7 am to 7 pm from the apex road starting at the foot of the hill, opening from the highway near Amala Hospital. While it’s a great place to just commune with the evening breeze and enjoy the sunset, there are a number of recreational activities available too. There is a children’s park, a trekker’s club, an awesome open-air theatre as well as the Asokanvanam Samiti. There is also a medicinal garden being cultivated here.

The splendid scenery and tranquil silence make this hillock a favourite place for all age groups, young and old. It’s a favourite haunt for young couples for private, placid short strolls away from peeping eyes and with the perfect backdrop of a picturesque locale. Even schools make arrangements to bring their children here for fun-filled picnics. The hill is lush green with a verdant cover of trees and bushes that are a balm to city-bred eyes.

Aside from this, it’s a favourite morning walk route for many people with the scenic sunrise being the perfect bonus for their efforts. However, when going up the hill in a vehicle, do be careful as the roads are pretty narrow and caution needs to be practised, especially during the rainy season.

Sitting at the top of the hill and watching the city of Thrissur spread out at its base is akin to sitting in an open-air theatre. This scenic location is being run by the Thrissur District Tourism Promotion Council and draws its fair share of tourists, local and outsiders alike.

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Vazhachal Waterfalls

The wild excitement of gushing water triggers some elemental feelings in most people, inviting them for a closer look. And that’s exactly what Vazhachal waterfalls does! It’s an amazing sight to see foaming water gushing down the steeply inclined terrain of the Sholayar foothills.

For those expecting to see a cascading waterfall, you might be a bit disappointed as Vazhachal waterfall is more of a horizontal waterfall located on the Chalakudy River. Watching its churning waters and fast-flowing rapids over an incline strewn with large rocks can be mesmerizing. Located just another 5km away down the Chalakudy River is the Athirapilly waterfall which falls about 80 feet vertically and is a misty sight to behold during the monsoon season. This should be your next stop.

These twin tourism gems that garland the Chalakudy River lie within the perimeters of the cultural centre of Kerala, the Thrissur district. The city centre is just a little over 60km away from the Vazhachal waterfalls and makes for a great weekend getaway for its residents. The nearby water-themed parks as well as the Jungle Safari organized by the Thrissur District Tourism Promotion Council add to the charms of nature and provide a great-away spot to unwind with friends and family.

Vazhachal waterfalls have its own unique magical charm and you can enjoy paddling in the small pools created on its sides with trickling crystal-clear water. The aura of the surrounding green forests, the chirping of birds and the chattering of monkeys along with the sounds of gushing waters weave a dream all its own, keeping you glued to your surroundings. You could spend hours just gazing at the beauty of this waterfall. However, don’t be enticed to get too close as many slippery mishaps in the past have forced the authorities to cordon off the sides.

You should also come with your own packed food and drinks for an impromptu picnic as the area doesn’t offer any restaurants or stalls. The ethereal silence prevailing here is a balm for city-bred souls. Conserving nature is of prime importance here and you are invited to refrain from moving in these parts after dark as wild elephants and bison are known to stray onto the roads.

As the waterfall is located in the foothills of the Western Ghats, you can enjoy its wild and refreshing bounty of abundant flora and fauna, some of which fall among the endangered list. This is a paradise for photographers and wildlife enthusiasts as well as nature lovers.

Come enjoy in the lap of nature’s paradise – the waters are waiting for you!

Best Residential Areas to Buy a Home in Thrissur

One of the most important features to look out for when buying a home is its location. Aside from the fact that prime locations are where the premium homes are to be found, it’s also true that the value of homes in such areas fares better over time.

A good location to buy your home would need to be not too far from the city centre, yet placed a little away from the hustle and bustle of the busy areas. It should ideally have important facilities including educational institutions, grocery stores, hospitals and easy availability of local transport nearby.

And then you have to be sure there are no sources of noise polluting or air pollution nearby. Aside from bringing down the salability of your home in the future, it’s not easy living day-in, day-out in such places either.

When going home-shopping, look for homes built by Elite Developers as all the classy homes, whether villas or apartments come located in prime areas. Located nearby in Patturaikkal, you will find a meticulously planned vertical home project, the ‘Elite Insignia’, meant for the truly elite in society. The location has a lot to say about it as it’s in the heart of the city with nothing being too far away.

It offers truly opulent amenities including a rooftop infinity pool, reticulated gas supply, driver’s restroom and a sky garden club. With 12 floors and 32 luxurious 3BHK apartments and penthouses, in sizes ranging from 1,745-2,210 sq ft, come live in the centre of Kerala’s cultural capital at a truly iconic address!

The ‘Elite Gardenia Hills’ villas in Puzhakkal are ideally located off the busy Thrissur-Kuttipuram road. Many important facilities including places of worship, shopping malls, banks and government offices are all located nearby for the convenience of these home-owners.

A great residential location in Thrissur is Amala Nagar with the offering of attractively-designed villa homes – the ‘Elite Meadows’. Also located close to the Thrissur-Kuttipuram road, these villas provide close-up vistas of the scenic green Vilangan Hills which are less than a kilometre away, providing a much-needed respite from the cityscape. The Amala Mission hospital is also in the vicinity along with a number of colleges, malls and places of worship. You couldn’t possibly go wrong with falling for this villa project either.

Another excellent location is Adat where you will find another elite villa project – the ‘La Pristine’. Built for the discerning members of society, in a location that’s equally remarkable – nothing is too far away from this residential area located off the Thrissur-Calicut highway.

Nestled close to the Westfort Junction is Ayyanthole, a peaceful area where you will find the mini-township project of ‘Elite Nest’ with numerous designer villas and classy apartments set in a vast space of beautifully-manicured 6 acres of lawns, gardens and world-class amenities.

Why is Thrissur the Best Place to live in Kerala?

Even though Kerala is known as a consumer state rather than a producer, Thrissur’s economy stands on its own financial capabilities. This grand old city was known to headquarter 58 banks in the 1930’s according to the RBI and was known as the banking town of India.

Today, it is still the headquarters of a number of finance houses and banks. It is also home to about 2,000 Kuries or Chit companies – companies that have played a major role in developing Thrissur into the business hub of South India that it is today.

Thrissur has also turned out to be a major tile manufacturing centre as well as an Ayurveda drug manufacturing hub. History has it that the King of Cochin invited 52 Syrian Christian families to settle down in Oottupura and do business in textiles. These astute businessmen soon built up the city of Thrissur with their natural flair for business and made it a retail business centre of the South.

To this day, Thrissur is home to numerous large superior-class silk showrooms with brand names that are famous all over the country. The city is also famous for its production of gold and diamond jewellery, with about 70% of the jewellery consumed in Kerala being produced here.

Aside from all this, Thrissur is also known as the cultural city of Kerala and home to numerous spiritual and religious monuments. It is also where the famous Thrissur Pooram festival is celebrated with millions of folks congregating into the city to witness this colourful 36-hour-long celebration. The hospitality industry here has been growing due to the presence of the nearby Guruvayur temple and numerous temple celebrations that see huge footfalls every year.

And with nearby cities becoming congested and running out of space, Thrissur is now seeing major growth in the real estate industry too. Its reputation as a clean and green city, where law and order still prevails, gives it an added attraction for homebuyers. The presence of prestigious education intuitions as well as leading hospitals is further driving the demand for residential buildings here.

With the easy availability of job and business opportunities acting like magnets, many potential homebuyers are increasingly looking towards Thrissur. As more and more people are now opting to live in clean and spacious cities like Thrissur, many builders, including the Elite Developers, have already moved in and have numerous classy villas and apartments on offer for homebuyers in prime locations within the city.

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Choosing between 3 BHK and 4 BHK Villas

Making the decision to buy a home is a big one, and once it’s done, you have to get down to the nitty-gritty of making the other thousand-and-one decisions that automatically follow!

Investing in a home is a major decision and it isn’t easy to undo once it has been done. When finalizing a villa home, there are a number of factors to consider. Of these, choosing the right location is a given. Its distance from your workplace, as well as the kid’s school, also has to be kept in mind aside from important features like safety and security for the family as well as the amenities.

Another thing to keep in mind is to not get carried away by the luxurious amenities that come with most villas but concentrate on your needs first. Having an idea of the amount of space you need is a good place to begin.

Don’t let builders confuse you with terminologies pertaining to spaces. Ask for the carpet area as it tells you the exact floor size you will be getting. Once you know this, you know what size your home should be.

Next, come the number of bedrooms needed. You might need a 3-bedroom (3BHK) villa, but just because you like the look of the 4-bedroom villa and its luxurious lawn doesn’t mean you have to go for it! Aside from the affordability factor, why burden yourself with space that you might not use.

The actual number of bedrooms needed depends on your family size – it might not necessarily be what you need today, but with growing kids, ageing parents and having space to host guests comfortably, you need to think about your future needs too.

While 3BHK villas are easier to find and afford, 4BHKs usually fall within the luxury range and are home to the elite. As long as there are no guests or elderly parents staying with you, 3BHKs form the ideal home size with just sufficient space for storage and modern-day living. Giving out 3BHKs for rent is also relatively easier, but it doesn’t work so well with 4BHK villas.

But when there is need of another bedroom – as is prone to happen with the Indian way of life where relatives are forever trooping in and out, a 4BHK is the best solution – for those who can afford it.

At the end of the day, however, your choice between a 3BHK and 4BHK villa depends entirely on the kind of lifestyle you lead.

What to Expect when Buying a Luxury Villa

When it comes to luxury, there is no set rule or design that categorizes a home as a luxury home. The best way to describe a luxury home is one that is large and spacious, has great entertainment value, has intelligent home appliances incorporated into it and is located in niche neighbourhoods. Luxury homes also come fitted with branded fittings and features, the best of amenities as well as great designing.

With many builders misusing the word ‘luxury’ and projecting every second run-of-the-mill project as being a luxury home, you need to go back to the drawing board and do a little homework on the nitty-gritty of what exactly a luxury home entails. Earlier, only villas were available in the luxury segment, but now apartments are also being included. While it’s difficult to quantify a luxury villa, most buyers feel they will know one when they see it.

Here is a list of qualities that a luxury villa must have:

  • Location is the key to luxury homes as they are usually located in secluded posh areas where only the ‘who’s who’ tend to congregate. Such locations boast of great connectivity to the city, have wide roads and great neighbourhoods that are clean and free of dumps and slums.
  • The construction materials, finishes and design must be a cut above what’s considered standard. Marble, hardwood, Venetian plaster and emulsion paints have all become common components of luxury homes.
    Luxury homes are also very spacious (over 2000 sq feet) and need to be at least a 3BHK home, if not more. Villas that are less than 3BHK don’t qualify for the luxury tag. Of recent luxury homes are additionally equipped with a family room as well as a servant’s room.
  • Security forms an important aspect of luxury homes. Luxury homes come with hi-tech features like digital locks, electronic surveillance, door videophones, motion-sensor lights and of course a 24×7 surveillance by professional security personnel.
  • An influx of international lifestyles means that luxury homes also come fully equipped with branded fittings and imported appliances.
  • The amenities that go with luxury villas are truly supposed to be of international standards too with swimming pools, gyms, clubhouses, barbeque pits, jogging tracks, paved sidewalks, manicured lawns, meditation centres, concierge, etc.

And the most important thing to remember when buying luxury villas is that they don’t come cheap. And if you are getting one in that category, be assured that it is a luxury villa!

Places to visit in and around Thrissur

Thrissur, also known to many by its anglicized name Trichur, is known as the cultural capital of Kerala – although it’s fast becoming known as the business hub of Kerala too. Thrissur is located centrally in the southern state of Kerala and is built around a 65-acre hillock, which also tells you this is a scenic area.

It is home to many thrilling monuments that has culturally-minded people flocking here in their thousands every year. It is among the oldest sites of settlements with megaliths and dolmans from the Neolithic era being increasingly discovered here. Some of the best places you can visit in and around the city are mentioned below:

Cheraman Juma Masjid

Believed to be the first and oldest mosque built in India, it dates back to 629 AD. Built by a Chera ruler, it’s interestingly designed in the typical Dutch-Kerala and Hindu architectural design.

Vadakkunnathan Temple

Interestingly, this temple finds mention in the ancient Hindu texts called the ‘Puranas’. Being one of the oldest Shiva temples, it’s built in classic Kerala-style architecture with beautiful murals and depictions of the Mahabharata. Unfortunately, non-Hindus cannot gain entrance.

Our Lady of Dolours Basilica

This is the third tallest church in Asia and the tallest in India, standing at 79 meters, covering an area of 2,300 sq meters. This Indo-Gothic monument with its inspiring statues and paintings and its 11 altars leaves you spell-bound in its exhilarating beauty.

Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple

Located 30km from Thrissur, this is a famous pilgrimage center that attracts lakhs of devotees every year. There is also an extravagant 33.5meter tall flag-post here which is gold-plated. People often visit here for wedding rituals and for the special feelings of serenity they feel here. However, only Hindus are allowed in.

Thrissur Zoo and Archeological Museum

After touring the sprawling zoo and enjoying its variety of flora and fauna, it’s time for some inspiring time visiting the museum. Dating back to 1938, the museum is located within the zoo complex and contains several ancient artifacts, manuscripts and jewelry as well as some exciting archeological remains from the Stone Age era.

Athirappilly Waterfall

Located in nearby Challakudy, its cascading waters create an awesome sight and its cool waters invite the tourists in for a splash. The best time to visit this famous spot is after the rainy season when the waters have stopped roaring.

There are numerous other interesting places too including beaches, backwaters, elephant sanctuaries and palaces to enthrall you here.